Recently, I wrote an article over where the San Francisco 49ers were the weakest coming into the 2013 NFL season. The only plausible hole I could find that barred the 49ers being the best returning team in the NFL was quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It seems like every San Francisco fan in the world flipped out at that idea.
Naturally, I did some more research, and came up with the exact same conclusion.
Quarterback is really the only part of the field where anything can go wrong for San Francisco barring injuries. Anquan Boldin and (injured at the moment) Michael Crabtree are both outstanding receivers that can break tackles, as well as beat the defense with their speed.
Running back Frank Gore is somehow going under the radar coming into this season (crazy right?) and in my opinion, Vernon Davis is the best tight end in the country. You just have to see what Davis does to opposing defenses once to realize even the threat he poses is enough to help the rest of the team.
The 49ers’ defense is as talented as ever and should continue to keep opposing offenses in check. Defenses win championships, as the Baltimore Ravens proved last year.
Kaepernick is getting high praise from everyone in the 49ers organization and the media that attends practices. However, isn’t that what everyone should expect for a young quarterback? Rarely do you hear an organization come out and say, “Our starting quarterback isn’t great.”
I mean, the Jacksonville Jaguars could probably do that at this point and no one would be surprised, but not a team like the 49ers with a legitimate chance at a return to the Super Bowl. They’re going to make Kaepernick think he’s the best quarterback in the NFL because he’ll carry that confidence into his game.
10 successful starts and a trip to the Super Bowl on the most all-around talented team in the NFL, and suddenly Kaepernick is elite? That’s not how things work in the NFL.
Just ask Tim Tebow. Tebow came in midway through the season for the Denver Broncos and led them on an impossible run to the playoffs and even a playoff win with a train wreck of an offense. Everyone didn’t automatically start believing that Tebow’s an elite quarterback.
It doesn’t work like that in the NFL, or the elite quarterbacks would be players like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III. Kaepernick, like Tebow, Griffin and Newton are elite athletes, but they still have a lot of different levels of work to do to get to “elite” status.
Look, Kaepernick is a good quarterback and will have a lot of success in the NFL. However, good doesn’t win you a Super Bowl – great does. The potential is there, but Kaepernick has a lot of work to do before he’s considered a great quarterback.
He doesn’t have to be elite yet — he’s still got a good 10-15 years left in the league.